Delphi murders: What we know and don't know 5 years after Abby and Libby were killed
Five years after the slayings of two Indiana girls, who went for a walk in the woods on a warm February day, police announced an update to the case.
Abigail Williams, 13, and Liberty German, 14, never returned to a prearranged pickup spot after their walk on the Delphi Historic Trails on the afternoon of Feb. 13, 2017.
Searchers found their bodies the next morning — Valentine's Day — in a wooded area not far from the Monon High Bridge, which they had visited the day before, according to evidence from the crime.
On Monday, police announced that Richard Allen, 50, of Delphi, was arrested and charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of Libby and Abby. Carter added the probable cause affidavit remains sealed.
Kelsi German, Libby's older sister, tweeted Friday morning, "Just know how grateful I am for all of you. No comments for now, any questions please refer to the Carroll county prosecutor's office. There is tentatively a press conference Monday at 10 am. We will say more then.
"Today is the day," she wrote.
The girls' slayings as well as the blizzard of news coverage, social media speculation and bits of chilling evidence released in the case, have tormented and captivated Hoosiers and other Americans even this many years after the crimes.
In July of 2021, Carroll County imposed a total blackout on releasing any information about possible persons of interest in the investigation, according to Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby.
Here's a closer look at what we know about what took place that day on that lonely trail.
More on the Delphi update:'Today is the day': Update to Delphi murders of Libby and Abby announced by ISP
Who were Abigail Williams and Liberty German?
Abby and Libby were friends and eighth-graders at Delphi Community Middle School, before they were killed.
To honor them, family members initially thought about raising money for new bleachers or a scoreboard at a softball field where the girls played. Their idea grew into the L&A Park Foundation, a nonprofit created to oversee the construction of a $1 million park, including three ball fields, an amphitheater and playgrounds.
Construction began in the spring of 2019 on the 20-acre Abby and Libby Memorial Park and it opened for play in July of 2021. The NBA All-Star 2021 Host Committee also announced in February 2020 that it would award a $50,000 All-Star Legacy Grant to the foundation to help in the construction of the sports complex.
Delphi murders early timeline: The search for Abby and Libby’s killer
Who is Richard Allen?
For years police officers and family members have decried the rampant rumors that have circulated in the case as well as the side-by-side photos comparing actual persons to the police sketches that some people have posted on social media sites, saying such speculation doesn't help the investigation and can be harmful to others.
The arrest of Richard Allen only further illustrates that message, as many noted his name has not been one of the many discussed previously on social media or podcasts.
Police have not released any information on Allen's arrest or his background at this time. During Monday's press conference, police and the prosecutor's office repeatedly said "today is not the day" for releasing details of the investigation, the arrest or the suspect.
The Journal & Courier filed a request Friday afternoon to inspect public information with Indiana State Police and Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby.
'The pain isn't less': Five years after their unsolved murder, Delphi teens still mourned
What lead to this Delphi case announcement
The self-imposed blackout on releasing information about the case to the media highlights the importance of Friday's announcement.
While there have been no official statements or updates on the investigation prior to the planned press conference, a podcast devoted to murder mysteries questioned in September whether a recent visit to Peru, Ind., by the superintendent of the Indiana State Police had anything to do with the unsolved murders of two Delphi teenagers.
The hosts of the true-crime podcast The Murder Sheet, Áine Cain and Kevin Greenlee, reportedly took photographs of ISP investigators in and near the Wabash River, near Peru, Ind., about 40 miles from where the teenagers were found killed five years ago.
Wabash River search'The Murder Sheet' podcast: Could water search be linked to Delphi murder investigation?
How were the Delphi girls killed?
Social media groups dedicated to the case have speculated for years about how the girls were killed, but that information has never been publicly released.
Police officials and prosecutors have remained tightlipped about the investigation, saying repeatedly that they need to withhold certain key details to maintain the integrity of the case.
"When we have the person we want, we want to know what they know about the case," Sgt. Kim Riley of the Indiana State Police, said in an interview with IndyStar in 2020. "That's why we've held back on the information that we've given out."
Families speak about Delphi murders: Four years later, family says it's 'like it happened yesterday'
Investigation of Ron Logan
In May of 2022, The Murder Sheet Podcast published and affidavit that the Journal & Courier confirmed to be authentic.
The affidavit indicates that Logan, who died in January 2022, lied to investigators.
It also indicated that Logan asked his cousin the morning of Feb. 14, 2017, to tell police — if asked — that he picked up Logan at his house between 2 and 2:30 p.m. Feb. 13, 2017, and drove to an aquarium store in Lafayette.
For more on Ron Logan, including quotes from an interview conducted just days after the killings, click the link below.
Delphi murders update on Ron Logan: Possible suspect in Delphi murders been on police radar since the killings
Who is 'anthony_shots'?
In the course of the investigation in December 2021, police uncovered an online profile used to communicate with young girls, using the name anthony_shots. The man's photo used on the profile is not a person of interest.
The online profile was used from 2016-17, police said, to solicit nude images from juvenile girls.
Kegan Kline was named by police as the suspect behind the catfish account. Kline is a suspect in a Miami County child exploitation and child pornography case.
"During Kegan’s interview," the 2020 affidavit stated, "he initially denied creating fake social media accounts and talking to underage girls. Later in the interview, he admitted to creating the anthony_shots profile and speaking to underage girls."
Kegan Kline affidavit: Affidavit links man to fictitious social media profile cited in Delphi murder investigation
Who is Kegan Kline?
The probable cause affidavit for Kline's 30 charges in Miami County indicated police first interviewed him on Feb. 25, 2017 — 12 days after the girls were killed.
HLN reporter Barbara MacDonald reported she spoke with Kline in December after the Indiana State Police indicated Kline's social media profile "anthony_shots" was of interest in the killings.
MacDonald asked why the state police focused on Kline's catfish social media profile.
“I have not a clue," Kline told HLN. “I think it’s because they said I was the last person to talk to her, is what they told me.”
In March of 2022, nearly 200 pages of police interview transcripts with Kline were reportedly uncovered by The Murder Sheet podcast after they were accidentally posted to a county website, according to Fox59.
In them, police question Kline about communications the 'anthony_shots' profile had with Liberty German the night before she died, and plans to meet up with her the day she was murdered.
In an August 2020 interview transcript, police tell Kline they believe individuals other than Kline had access to "anthony_shots."
In the HLN interview, FOX59 reported, Kline also said ISP reportedly told him “they knew it was my dad” that killed the teenagers.
Keegan Kline police interviews: Transcript refers to conversations 'anthony_shots' had with murdered Delphi teen
Investigators are asking anyone who may have communicated with, met or attempted to meet the person connected with the profile to email email@example.com or call 765-822-3535.
Is James Brian Chadwell a suspect?
One person who garnered attention surrounding the case was James Brian Chadwell II, a 42-year-old Lafayette resident accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl in April, 2021.
A knock on Chadwell's door by police officers interrupted his sexual assault of the girl he had locked in his basement, forcing him to quickly dress and answer the door, according to prosecutors.
James Brian Chadwell: Lafayette girl found in basement says Chadwell sexually assaulted her, affidavit shows
After the arrest, residents were quick to point out the nature of the alleged crimes and a resemblance to the first suspect sketch.
"The information has obviously been shared with us, and our investigators are looking into him," Leazenby said.
Attempts to follow up on the investigation into Chadwell's possible connection were prevented when police imposed the information blackout in July.
Since his arrest, Chadwell has been involved in a jailhouse fight, and requested a change of venue citing worldwide media attention.
"Mr. Chadwell continues to be associated with Abigail Williams and Liberty German's killings," his attorney Shay Hughes said, noting that the New York Posts published information that indicated Chadwell is guilty.
Good Morning America keeps Delphi murders in spotlight
On Feb. 10, 2022, the national show 'Good Morning America' featured the case ahead of the five-year anniversary. They discussed the latest statements from ISP Superintendent Doug Carter and family members.
"My resolve to catch him is as strong now as it was day one," Carter said. "The only difference between now and day one is we know about you, a lot about you. Today could be the day. Sleep well."
What else do we know about the Delphi murders?
Investigators have released these four bits of key evidence in the case.
• FBI description: The suspected killer is thought to be a white man who weighs between 180 and 200 pounds and stands between 5 feet, 6 inches tall and 5 feet, 8 inches tall. He has been described as wearing blue jeans, a blue jacket or coat and a hoodie.
• Police sketches: There were two police sketches released in the case.State Police released an image done by an FBI sketch artist on July 17, 2017, that showed an older-looking man with a goatee, who was wearing a cap and a hoodie. On April 22, 2019, State Police released a new sketch of the suspect,one in which the suspect is clean-shaven and looks to be much younger than the earlier sketch. Police say the new sketch takes precedence over the old one and added that the killer is now thought to be between the ages of 18 and 40 — but may appear younger than his true age.
• Smartphone image, audio: A day after the girls were found, police released a grainy image of the suspect taken from video on Libby's smartphone. A week later, they released audio of a man's voice saying "down the hill." The longer version of the same smartphone video released in 2019 shows the gait of the man as he was walking on the bridge — as well as a longer version of audio, where he can be heard saying "Guys ... Down the hill."
• Location of suspect: At the same April 2019 press conference, Doug Carter, superintendent of the State Police, said new information leads investigators to believe that the killer is from Delphi, and they believe he either still lives or works in Delphi, or frequently visits the area.
Delphi murders: Is Abby and Libby’s killer one of Delphi’s own? ISP says, yes
What have their families said?
Mike Patty, the grandfather of Liberty German, has spoken out publicly at news conferences and in interviews with the media about the toll that the case has taken.
Patty said in an interview in February 2018 that he was still optimistic that there would be a break in the case. Finding the killer, he said, would allow his family — and Abby's mother, Anna — to finally start to grieve.
"This is what you wake up with every day. It’s the last thoughts before you go to bed. And some nights, I still don’t sleep. For three months, I didn’t sleep,” Patty said in 2018.
“And I’m not going to sleep until I know another family won’t have to go through this, like we are right now.”
'Horrible to live like this': Family members and community still torn apart a year after Abby and Libby were killed
Kelsi German has said she considered her younger sister, Libby, to be her best friend. She dropped Libby and Abby off near the Monon High Bridge trail early in the afternoon of Feb. 13, 2017.
Finding their killer has become a calling for her. In February 2020, on the third anniversary of their murders, Kelsi posted this poignant message to her 14,000-plus Twitter followers at @libertyg_sister: “Today 3 years ago,” she wrote, “was my last real day with my best friend and I wish I would’ve done it differently. I miss you.”
Kelsi talked more with a reporter from Lafayette Journal & Courier about how special her sister was — and her recollections of the events of that fateful day.
Are police holding a Delphi murders news conference this year?
Indiana State Police announced they plan a news conference to update the investigation of the Delphi murders and who might have killed Libby German and Abby Williams on Feb. 13, 2017.
The press conference is planned for 10 a.m. Monday morning at the Delphi United Methodist Church. Follow us here and on our social media accounts as we keep you updated with latest.
Are Delphi murders a cold case? After 3 years with no arrests, police say case isn't cold
How many officers are working the case now?
The State Police news release said there were two Carroll County detectives, two Indiana State Police detectives "and other law enforcement officers" assigned to the case.
There were hundreds of officers and volunteers helping out in the days and weeks after the girls disappeared and their bodies were found, but now much fewer are working actively on the case.
Police also say they've received tens of thousands of tips in the case. State Police Supt. Doug Carter and other law-enforcement officials have insisted in the past that the Delphi Murders investigation is not a cold case.
Is there new evidence in the case?
No new official evidence, but an augmented reality smartphone app called CrimeDoor released a video based on evidence from the crime scene that gives users a closeup view of computer-generated images of the girls standing on the Monon High Bridge, as the killer slowly approaches them across the abandoned, weather-beaten rail trestle.
CrimeDoor app: Augmented reality app might help find Delphi teens' killer
The free portion of the app lets users access news accounts of crimes. If they want to digitally walk through a crime scene, users must pay $1.99 to download the augmented reality portion of the case.
Kelsi German, Libby's older sister, has expressed support for the app, saying it may "hopefully solve cases and get arrests for many unsolved cases.”
'Down the Hill' and other podcasts about the Delphi murders
The unsolved murders of Abby and Libby have been the subject of a several true crime podcasts. One of the most prominent was launched by HLN, formerly CNN Headline News, that premiered on Feb. 5, 2020, prior to the third anniversary of the girls' deaths.
"Down the Hill: The Delphi Murders" examined the slayings' impact on the small town , as well as how the case continues to haunt the community.
'Down the Hill': HLN explores Delphi murders in new podcast
One of the top true-crime podcasts, "My Favorite Murder," gave their take on the case in Episode 235.
"Casefile" did an hour-long episode on the case, "Unsolved" released a 90-minute episode recapping the murders, while "Scene of the Crime: Delphi" did a 7-episode series on the basics of the case in early 2020.
Are tips still being taken in the case?
Yes. Investigators are still seeking information and ask that people who reach out to them provide key details, such as a name, age, phone number, and why the caller thinks that person may be connected to the case. Such tips can be made anonymously and there is a significant reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.
Anyone with such information is urged to call the Delphi homicide tip line at 844-459-5786. Tips also may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lafayette Journal & Courier reporters Ron Wilkins and Dave Bangert contributed to this story.
Dwight Adams is a digital producer on Gannett's Midwest Digital Optimization team. He can be reached on Twitter @hdwightadams.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Delphi murders: What to know about case, suspect Richard Allen, arrest